First Essex proposes to close Clacton operating base and end five services

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First’s Telford Road depot in Clacton looks set to close, with 60 jobs at risk, though the company is confident that other operators will step in and passengers will not be left without a service. GOOGLE STREETVIEW

Managing Director of First Essex, Steve Wickers, says operation has not been viable for years and the company has been unable to change its fortunes

First Essex, has announced proposals to close its operating base in Clacton and discontinue running local bus services 2, 3, 4/4a, 5/5a and 6.

Services between Clacton and Colchester, and between Clacton and Walton on the Naze, will continue to be operated by First Essex seven days per week.

First Essex said that its bus operation in Clacton has not been viable for several years, and despite ‘working hard to turn the business around,’ there has been insufficient passenger demand to use the network of bus services that are in place.

The company added that the continuing challenging economy has also been a factor in the proposed withdrawal.

Steve Wickers, Managing Director of First Essex, said: “I’m disappointed that we are proposing to withdraw services in Clacton, but regrettably, we see no alternative.

“Despite our best efforts and hard work to encourage people to use the service network in the town, customers have declined gradually over the last couple of years.

“Unfortunately, the level of demand is not enough to warrant a standalone bus operation in Clacton. We are proposing to continue running services as normal, however, we are engaging with Essex County Council on the future of bus services in the area.

“Given the volume of other bus operators that operate in and around Clacton, I’m confident that customers shouldn’t be left without a service.”

In line with the proposed closure of the Clacton business, First Essex has started the collective consultation process with trade unions on the possibility of redundancies, which could involve around 60 jobs being at risk.

Steve Wickers added: “Our proposals do not, in any way, reflect on the commitment of our colleagues in Clacton who have worked tirelessly to provide the best possible service to the local community. I’d like to thank each and every one for their hard work and loyalty.

“We will be doing everything we can to assist everyone affected and will actively support any of our employees who may wish to transfer to other First Bus operations.”